The challenge for modern organizations is innovation: in products, the discovery of new channels, the creation of first-rate customer experiences, and entering fruitful partnerships.

Getting any transformation process right is an ongoing project that needs careful monitoring; with changes to business processes, applications, data and infrastructure and the continued challenge of effective collaboration.

To survive in competitive marketplaces, organizations must innovate rapidly to exploit new channels, boost customer experiences, and market fresh, innovative products and services. The big catch is that companies don’t have decades or even years to do this: they need to be much quicker — think months or even weeks, not years. Having the ability to pivot quickly, optimize continually and transform the way the business operates – at scale and with speed – is the definition of business success in 2021.

All transformation initiatives rely on effective change from within – from introducing new processes to optimizing data, applications, and infrastructure. The combination of these initiatives forms the fundamentals of business transformation.

Agile Business Transformation

Source: ValueBlue

Often, enterprise-grade companies begin with “ivory tower” Enterprise Architecture exercises at a strategic level that can have little correlation with the processes that are actually taking place within the business. In other cases, the architecture is extremely operational, with a strong focus on only the current organizational state, and limited actionable relevance to strategic goals and objectives. By building a bridge between these two approaches, you’re able to affect transformation from the bottom-up.
When an organization starts with strategy and objectives, it allows the rest of the organization to model current and future states based on well-defined enterprise architecture guidelines. With that combination, you’re able to achieve change faster. In brief, the role of Enterprise Architecture is to support proactively and enable transformation.

In today’s business environments, the Enterprise Architecture function must be elastic and agile: it must be adaptable as the business changes shape, and it must reflect changes as close to real-time as possible.

Like today’s technology being under constant development, agile business transformation is iterative, quick to move through development cycles, and is continuously optimized.

Enterprise architects must have insight into the organization’s current landscape. For that, they need information that’s up to date and in line with current and future innovation initiatives. Once the enterprise’s current state is well-enough established – ideally, by ‘recycling’ information produced by project teams – it can be analyzed and high-level plans drawn up. With executive-level buy-in to the enterprise architects’ work, communication and guidance for teams can be provided. The creative design of solutions is then effectively mapped out, and there’s a clear path from analysis through solution.

No-one expects laypeople to be conversant with Enterprise Architecture-specialist markup languages, and the majority of any enterprise architect’s workload comprises communication with stakeholders (like process managers, solutions architects, the full gamut of IT roles, application owners, and stakeholders across the enterprise). The mark of a successful, experienced enterprise architect is their uncanny talent for listening, assimilating, and presenting their insights in relevant and actionable ways.

Agile Business Transformation

Source: ValueBlue

Challenges exist in many forms – consider data management. The implementation of new sales channels, adjusting to new laws and legislation and beginning to work in a more data-driven way all require transformations in your process, application, data and infrastructure landscapes.

Additionally, as new systems come on board – such as after an acquisition or merger – deduping and parsing data, consolidating similar applications, and avoiding data silos all pose specific challenges requiring specialist knowledge. Naturally, information is rarely static, so teams continually balance the need to preserve production uptimes and structural change initiatives.

With all these different teams working on different challenges, the information retained on the organization’s current state quickly becomes fragmented. This disparate information landscape hinders proper analysis, and creates ‘siloed’ realities for different teams in your organization. Not only does this lead to organizational risk, but it slows down the capability for innovation. Only by understanding how processes, applications, data and infrastructure interconnect can Enterprises become truly agile.

The prioritization of transformation projects and initiatives poses similar challenges in operational terms: how to connect change to daily operations without risking a loss of business? Project & Portfolio Architecture (PPA) offers a solution. Organizations are aware that collaboration between business units needs improvement, and project silos need to be broken down and discussed. Project & Portfolio Architecture is about a strategic undertaking to address the correct projects that help the organization achieve business goals – and analyzing the impact of these projects on an operational level, making sure they align with company principles and guidelines. Project & Portfolio Architecture bridges the gap between an organization’s improvements to the core capabilities in its value chain, and the implementation of changes via projects. PPA also ensures that the organization prioritizes projects based on critical metrics and decision dashboards; the right information for decision-making.

The takeaway: Transformation requires business functions to pull together

Keeping stakeholders engaged is a tough call over the long term. Key figures in any business need to be involved with transformation projects but must do so without spending valuable time re-inventing the wheel; the process guidelines, or the overarching architectural blueprints.

With some of the latest cloud-based platforms, critical stakeholders in an organization can collaborate on change initiatives using transparent technical language and visual aids. For this to happen, the end goal is a technology explicitly designed for enterprise-wide collaboration on business transformation projects.

Agile Business Transformation

Source: ValueBlue

Using new-generation SaaS (software as a service) solutions, architectural, project, and transformation teams are coming together to get the information needed. As iterations on the systems in everyday use are rolled out, the cloud platform provides a place for multi-way feedback, guidance, collaboration, and information provisioning.

At Tech HQ, we’ve been working with just such a business transformation SaaS platform provider for a couple of years now. ValueBlue has created a collaboration platform that keeps stakeholders at all levels with “skin in the game” — not just for discrete projects but on an ongoing basis. ValueBlue leans on familiarity to allow teams to communicate in their natural ‘language’ (for example, by integrating BPMN 2.0 with ArchiMate on the back-end).

ValueBlue’s BlueDolphin proposition is based on teams achieving four key pillars that form the basis for an agile enterprise: Application Portfolio Management, Business Process Management, Data Management and Project & Portfolio Architecture. On these pillars, ValueBlue builds its platform that empowers companies of all sizes to plan, assess and develop their transformation initiatives in a continuous and agile way.

Agility requires an organization to understand its current state to work towards a desired future state with a comprehensive understanding of processes, data, applications, infrastructure and the projects that transform them.
An application landscape can’t be rationalized without a sense of each application’s functions, capabilities, and relationships. It’s impossible to prioritize projects and initiatives without a view of the full project portfolio, one that contains relationships, dependencies, and pre-requisites. Data compliance is possible only when the enterprise knows precisely how and where data is stored and how it travels through the organization. Similarly, business processes can’t be streamlined until their context, the data, and applications used are known.
The adage is certainly true: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Naturally, when you look at the breadth of enablers mentioned above, it’s no surprise that collaboration is a central theme running throughout transformation projects and thus a key feature of ValueBlue’s BlueDolphin software product.

By harmonizing business, IT, and data in one place, the BlueDolphin platform is key to enabling agile transformation for Enterprises. The agility of today’s enterprises, and proponents of this new paradigm, like ValueBlue, understand the complexities involved and act as experienced navigators.

See for yourself – you can find more on ValueBlue’s vision of Agile Business Transformation, and see how the SaaS solution can change how the enterprise realizes its long-term innovation and transformation.

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